Due to accidents, illnesses and other such situations, medical emergencies sometimes happen. When they do, decisions often must get made about the types of treatments patients will receive. If the injured or sick cannot speak for themselves, then the decisions about their care fall to others.
Using the following tips may help people choose the person best suited to serve as their voice if incapacity keeps them from making medical decisions for themselves.
Meeting the requirements
According to MayoClinic.org, when establishing a health care power of attorney, people should make sure the representatives they choose meet the state requirements. For example, most states require people to choose adults aged 18-years or older to serve as their medical representatives. With few exceptions, people typically cannot select health care agents who serve as their physicians or in other roles on their medical care teams.
Following the grantor’s wishes
According to the National Institute on Aging, health care powers of attorney grant medical decision-making authority to designated people in the event of incapacitating illness or injury. When choosing someone to serve as their health care proxies, then, people should consider their family members, friends and other acquaintances. While the person they choose does not have to necessarily share their views and values, people should ensure they name representatives who will make decisions based on what they would want.
When healthy, many struggle to see the importance of advance care planning. However, taking steps such as creating a health care power of attorney may help give people peace of mind and ensure their wishes get carried out, even in situations when they cannot speak for themselves.